Adi Walujo is a pastor in GITJ (Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa) or the Javanese Mennonite Church in Indonesia.
Se encuentra en español aquí: https://www.martyrstories.org/adi-walujo-2/?lang=es
The churches I work with are in a rural area. Several years ago, right after our Easter celebrations, a group of the Muslims came to the church compound.
They pulled out a paper and blocked the door of our church, saying that we were not allowed to use our church building!
We were very surprised, because most of our church members come from a Muslim background and all of them have family in the broader community. Some of the individuals who blocked our church that day even had family members in the church. So we did not know why they had closed our church.
As a pastor, I encouraged our church members to continue to attend Sunday worship, even if it wasn’t in the church building.
Instead we met for worship in the yard of the church compound. We sat on the ground and even in the rainy season we worshiped with umbrellas and a plastic cover over our heads.
Because the church is not a building but the people who believe in God personally. We meet together, we worship Jesus Christ as God, and we serve Him. We still worshiped in the church compound, but outside on the ground instead of in the building.
During this time, church members gathered together to pray. We said, “God, we need you to help us deal with the community. Help us know how to talk with the Muslim leaders.”
Some other church leaders and I tried to communicate with the Muslim leaders. We went to them to ask why they had closed our church building. But they did not have a good answer for us, simply that they did not want us to worship God in that area. Some of them said we were in a “green” area–a Muslim area–and they told us we should leave and worship our God elsewhere.
But then something surprising happened.
On our church property is a well that supplies water for the community. It is not only for Christians but for anyone in the community that needs water. In fact, most of the people that use the well are Muslim. So even though they persecuted us and closed our church building, the water from our well was still running around.
Those people who consumed the water from our well day after day told the Muslim leaders that we had not cut them off from the water, even though we were being persecuted by Muslims.
The water was still running to Muslim families.
That had a good impact on our conversations with the Muslim leaders. Eight months after our church was closed, we had a special gift from God.
The Muslim leader spoke to me and said, “Brother, you Christians are good people. We realize that you are a part of the community. Although we closed your church, the water from your well is still running around. It gives life to our people in the community.”
And then he said, “I apologize. We decided to allow you to use your church building again to worship your God.”
Maybe people think persecution is always negative. But for us we learned how to depend on God while our church was closed.
We grew spiritually. We believed and trusted that God would open the way, that we would be able to use our church building again.
And God opened the door for us to have our church building again! The Muslims even allowed us to put a cross on our church building to signify that it is a church. Before the persecutions, there was no cross.
We are a peace church, but that doesn’t mean we have to just be quiet. We have to be an active part of the community and to love them. Before maybe people didn’t know the meaning of love. Maybe they couldn’t see the impact of the love that we feel in our lives.
This is the story that comes from our church and how we dealt with persecution. We grew, our faith grew, and our relationships with Muslims grew.
We’re still struggling to get the permit for the church building. So we would like to invite Christians from other places to pray for Indonesia. That the government will allow Christians to have permits to construct church buildings. And that the Holy Spirit will move among the Muslim leaders, that they will give permission for Christians to build churches in their communities.
(According to the Constitution, church buildings require sixty signatures from neighbors in the community, often Muslims.)